New Soil Test Shows Fifty Percent More Nitrogen than Traditional Soil Tests

Rick Haney, USDA-ARS soil scientist developed a new and improved soil test after observing a control plot that produced 60 bushels of corn with no added nutrients. The test measures water-soluble organic carbon and soil biological activity in order to determine the amount of nutrients available for crop uptake. After researching nutrient cycling and carbon mineralization for quite some time, Haney stated, “[We] came to the realization that field conditions and the conditions we have traditionally used in testing soil samples for nutrients in the laboratory are essentially apples and oranges.” Haney’s soil test unearths traditional soil testing’s underestimate of nitrogen (N), missing nearly half of the N actually in the soil for crop use, leading to overapplication and lost revenue. Read the full article here!

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